The ANZAC Day ceremonies buried the real reasons for World War One - along with the mass opposition to the imperialist bloodbath.
TO MARK THE CARNAGE OF GALIPOLLI, in which some 130,000 men died, Bell Tea issued 50,000 special commemorative one-pound tea cans - available in all good supermarkets. According to Bell these tea cans were, one hundred a years ago, "a beacon of hope for the 100,000 New Zealanders who went to war."
To really get into the ANZAC mood, you could perhaps of drank this special hope-inspiring tea while you listened to iHeartRadio New Zealand's special internet station, ANZAC Day Remembered. It was programmed by the conservative Christian Broadcasting Association and hosted by Newstalk ZB's Leighton Smith. That's right - Leighton Smith. He's the guy who has supported all of the United States recent military adventures in the Middle East and backs John Key sending New Zealand troops to Iraq to help in the fight against the so called Islamic State.
The press release from iHeartRadio declared that “The ANZAC Day Remembered station is a tribute to those who protected our freedom and democracy and our way of remembering their sacrifice and bravery in the lead up to ANZAC Day."
If we only remember the fallen because they supposedly 'protected our freedom and democracy' we have insulted them all. If the slaughter of millions is emptied of the truth so that it can be become the vehicle for a tea company to promote its product or a radio company to promote its internet arm, then we have insulted the fallen while pretending to honour them.
Their deaths were not inevitable – they could of been prevented and were resisted on all fronts, particularly by workers’ movements, which did more than anyone else to end the bloodshed. But we have heard little mention of that.
If our politicians want to retroactively justify the pointless slaughter of millions of largely working-class men and women in an imperialist bloodbath by telling us that they died “for our freedom”, then they will.
But we don't have to believe them. This is not 'remembrance' but a convenient rewriting of history.
In red and gold the Corps-Commander stood,
With ribboned breast puffed out for all to see:
He'd sworn to beat the Germans, if he could;
For God had taught him strength and strategy.
He was our leader, and a judge of Port -
Rode well to hounds, and was a damned good sort.
'Eyes right!' We passed him with a jaunty stare.
'Eyes front!' He'd watched his trusted legions go.
I wonder if he guessed how many there
Would get knocked out of time in next week's show.
'Eyes right!' The corpse-commander was a Mute;
And death leered round him, taking our salute.
Siegfried Sasson, 25 December, 1916